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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

School is out, triple digits are in. Finally catching up on all my dinner that I did not post.

I will start with this simple and yet very delicious Vegetarian Quiche. Perfect for lunch and dinner and enjoying it with a nice chilled glass of white wine.
Green salad as a side, and ice cream to top off a perfect evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s dinner:

Vegetarian Quiche
Green Salad
Vanilla Ice cream with Blackberries in sugar

VEGETARIAN QUICHE

1 Puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
4 tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas thawed
1 teaspoon sugar
½ of a can of artichoke hearts
4 eggs
1 ½ -cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1-tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 400°
Roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a 9” pie dish. Butter and flour the pie dish. Place the pasty and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel cut and removes all seed from the tomatoes. Chop them roughly, salt and pepper them.
Add the peas, artichoke and tomatoes to the puff pastry.
Beat together the eggs, heavy cream and the Gruyere cheese and pour over the vegetables.
Lower the heat to 375° and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the eggs mixture is solid.

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Coming home late and wanting to prepare a new recipe , can be a recipe for disaster. I have been wanting to prepare this great cauliflower gratin from Bobby Flays’s “Bar Americain Cookbook” for a while now, but every time I read the recipe I got discourage because it was  too late to start  and I did not have the time necessary to donate to it. Re reading the recipe  I decided it to modify it and make it more school night friendly.
Steaming the cauliflowers was a quick short cut that eliminate a good 20 minutes from the oven cooking and could be done alongside preparing the béchamel sauce. And voila, what was supposed to be an over one hour meal preparation it was done in less than 45 minutes.
We served alongside a nice bone in pork chop.

TIP: * Life lesson from my grandmother: when cooking cauliflower,  squeeze a teaspoon of lemon in the water, or place some slices of lemon in the water. The lemon will absorb the smell that we are not too fond of.

* Make sure the cauliflower is not to cook but still has a bite or the whole plate will become mush.
* Using regular goat cheese is fine, actually that is what was required on the original recipe. I did not have any on hand.
* Use a good Monterey Jack cheese that is not too high on fat content.
Bon Appetit!!!

Giangi

Tonight’s January 23, 2014 dinner:

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin
Bone in Pork Chop

 

CAULIFLOWER AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 -3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. herbed goat cheese, cut in small pieces
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, and each florets cut in half

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 10 inch gratin baking dish.
Steam the cut cauliflower until slightly tender. Remove from heat and place in a dish to cool off.
Meanwhile in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat melt butter and whisk in the flour. Stir to blend and cook for I minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened.
Remove from heat and add the Monterey cheese, ¾ of the goat cheese and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the sauce over the cauliflower and stir well.
Place the cheese and cauliflower mixture into the buttered gratin dish and top with remaining goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Place the gratin dish over a cookie sheet (for spillage) and bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top bobbly and golden brown.
Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

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Not having all the ingredients on hand last night I just improvised a sauce for the orange roughy. Simple, fast and tasty, a must try  at this time of the year.

Green salad with yellow and red pepper and quick potatoes gratin. Easy side dishes.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s December 27, 2012 dinner:

Orange roughy with capers, garlic and Vermouth

Quick potatoes gratin

Salad with orange-red bell peppers

Orange roughy with capers, garlic and vermouth

 

4 pieces of orange roughy fish

4 tablespoons of butter

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

½ cup sweet dry white Vermouth

2 Tbsp. capers

Salt and pepper

 

In a frying pan put 3 tablespoons butter and cook until melted and starts to bubble. Add the pieces of fish and gently brown  on both sides.

Add to the pan the sweet vermouth, garlic, the capers and  salt and pepper.  Scrape any bits of the pan and cook until the sauce start to bind.

Remove the fish from the pan when done and rest covered on a dish.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and swirl it around until it melts.

Serve over the fish.

 

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I have been having some difficulties uploading my pictures into my computer from my camera and therefore  I have not been able to post as I wanted. There is a lesson to be learned  on keeping up with new updates…. Now all is fixed and working like a charm.

As promised from my Thanksgiving posting, yes…. I know is kind of late…. but better late than never…, here are some pictures.

I love the Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots and will have that again for any occasion, and most definitely for Christmas dinner.

Enjoy!!!!

Giangi

 

CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH APRICOTS, RAISINS AND ORANGE

4 cups cranberry (about 1 1/3 12-ounce package)

2 cups sugar

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup water

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat, cover and boil until cranberry pop, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold ( mixture will thicken as it cools). Can be made 4 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Makes about 41/2 cups.

 

BRUSSELS SPROUT HASH WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided

½ pound shallots, thinly sliced

Salt

2 tablespoons cognac vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline (1/8 inch). Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprout sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporated and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2012

There are so many wonderful peoples, great successes, amazing things that had happened in my life and that I am grateful and thankful for.  Would love to list them all, but there is not enough space on this page to write them all down.

With that said, I do however want to send my love and gratitude to my family, my friends.  Your love and support is wonderful and fills my heart everyday with strength. Thank you and I love you.

To all of you my readers and followers a huge thank you for making this journey fun and exciting. Your support, comment, encouragements are greatly appreciate it.

But most of all to my sweet boy. You are growing so fast and so beautifully. I love the boy you are becoming. I love your pure heart, I love your laughter. Everyday I am thankful to be your mom. I love you.

To all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your special loved one.

Giangi

This is the menu that I will be preparing for this Thanksgiving 2012.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Turkey with chestnut stuffing

Shiitake mushrooms gravy

Orange Cranberry sauce

Mashed potatoes with horseradish

Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots

Brown butter apple tart

I am enclosing some of the recipes with today and will post pictures tomorrow.

Chestnut stuffed turkey

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 oz. of bacon slices, cut in thin strips

8 oz. sausage meat

1 breakfast sausage, casing removed

1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Equal pinch of: cinnamon, dry mustard, pepper, gloves)

24 Steamed chestnuts

1 turkey, cleaned and patted dry

Thick bacon slices

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven at 375º.
In a large skillet heat the butter and add the onions and the bacon strips.  Add the sausage meat and the sausage. Continue cooking and separating the pork meats with a spatula.

Add the apple to the meat.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the spices and mix well.

Remove from the heat and add the steamed chestnuts. Work the stuffing lightly to well incorporate the meat and chestnuts, but not mashed them.

Stuffed the turkey’s neck with the above stuffing. Close the opening. Place in a large cooking pan over a roast rack.  Slightly oil the turkey with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cover the turkey’s breast with the thick bacon slices.  Cover slight with aluminum foil. Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound.

Poke with a fork once in a while to let the juices run form the breast and tight area.

Baste with white wine and any juices from the bottom of the pan.

When done remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes or so.

Serve alongside apple slices sautéed with butter and warm steamed chestnuts.

 

SHIITAKE MUSHROOM GRAVY

½ cup all purpose flour

½ dry Sherry

3 tablespoons butter

12 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

 

4 cups (about) low salt chicken broth

1/3 cup whipped cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

 

Mix flour and Sherry in a small bowl until smooth paste forms.  Melt butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and rosemary: sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead.) Cover flour paste lightly.  Let paste and mushrooms stand at room temp.

 

Transfer pan juices to 8-cup glass measuring cup.  Spoon off fat and discard. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 5 cups; add to saucepan with mushrooms.  Add flour paste and whisk to combine.  Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently.  Boil until thickened to light gravy, about 10 minutes.  Mix in cream, thyme, and tarragon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with turkey.

BRUSSELS SPROUT WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided

½ pound shallots, thinly sliced

Salt

2 tablespoons cognac vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

 

 

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.  Add vinegar and sugar.  Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.  Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline (1/8 inch). Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprout sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes.  Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter.  Sauté until most of water evaporated and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes.  Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper.

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The Fall air is one of my favorite. The days are getting shorter the morning are colder. Our home cooking reflect that by having a more sauces, more oven cooked meals. The aromas that linger in the house are warming to the soul.

Last night I prepared one of my old favorite meal, cheese pork chops. The heavy cream tenderizes the meat, which was already tender to start with, the mustard gives a small bite, the cheese blends well.

Nothing portrays Fall better than Brussels sprouts. To maximize my time I did not peel leaves by leaves, but instead I sliced them in thin slices. same result while cooking, faster prep time.

Could not have our first official Fall meal without potatoes.

A nice glass of Chardonnay by Sterling Vineyard was perfect.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

 

Tonight’s October 22, 2012 dinner:

Cheese Pork Chops

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Garlic

Potatoes Anna with Thyme

 

CHEESE PORK CHOPS

4 pork chops

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Olive oil

½ cup Gruyère cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

In a heavy bottom skillet melt the butter with the olive oil. Sauté` the pork chops over medium high 3 minutes on each sided. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes for side.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile turn on the broil. Mix together in a bowl the heavy cream, mustard and the cheese. Remove the chops from the stove and place them in an oven proof dish. Spread the cheese-cream mixture over the chops and broil for about 5 minutes.

 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON AND GARLIC

2 pounds Brussels sprouts halved and core removed

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

6 slices of bacon cut in small slices

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice

In a large skillet place the bacon and cook until is brown and all fat rendered.

Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts and still well together.

Cover and let the sprouts become tender.

Add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon to season and serve.

 

POTATOES ANNA

2 large Idaho Russet potatoes, peeled, sliced very thin

4 to 5 tablespoon butter

Thyme

Salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a heavy 12-inch skillet. Dry the potato slices on paper towel. Arrange slices in a ring on bottom of skillet. Fill the center with overlapping slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange a second layer with remaining slices. Invert a heat proof dish over the potatoes and place a heavy object on the plate to weight the potatoes down. Sauté the potatoes over medium heat until the underside is nice and golden and the slices are molded together. Remove the weight and the plate and carefully turn the potatoes all at once. Cook until browned and cooked through. Cut in quarters and place in plates.

 

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Pasta is amazing. Not only we are able to find so many different shapes and types, but there is so many ways and sauces that can be prepared along side. I use pasta as my tool of experimentation, as well as the left over assistant.

Last night we added a new flavor on our cooking. Mushrooms. Yes, my son wanted to try again mushrooms… Our first attempt was not successful but I did not push it. I figure, he is getting older, why pick that battle now? Why not wait?

Out of the blue sky, two days ago my son told me that it was time he tried mushrooms again.  A happy smile graced my face as I love mushrooms. Last night recipe was the introduction night. I had no recipe in hand, except my imagination and the help of large shells pasta.  I figure, give him something that he adores, pasta, and add what he wants to try. What can go wrong with that combination, right? Success is the answer. Not only he enjoyed all the stuffed shells I give him, but at the last bite he noticed that he was eating mushrooms. He was happy and so was I, as his thumb of approval was given.

Yeahhh!!! We are eating mushrooms now. I could not be happier.

The shells recipe I have created last night, any left over meat, chicken, turkey may be added to it. Just let your imagination free.

I had an assistant last night with the photos…Thank you pumpkin..

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s October 11, 2012 dinner:

Stuffed Shell Pasta

Fresh Berries with Sugar

STUFFED SHELLS

1 cup thawed peas

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

6 mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thinly

¼ onions sliced thinly

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 egg

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ shredded mozzarella cheese, or any shredded cheese on hand

3 slices of cooked ham, thinly sliced (optional)

Salt and pepper

Ground Nutmeg

Besciamella:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup all-purpose flour

2 or more cup of whole milk

Salt and pepper

Grated Nutmeg

Preheat the oven at 375º.

Cook the pasta according to package direction. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter onions. Cook for 1 minute and had the sliced mushrooms ham and peas. Stir until the onions and mushrooms are soft, around 10 minutes.. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside and let cool.

In a large bowl add the ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, nutmeg. Mix well and add the onion mushroom mixture. Taste, correct seasoning if needed.

Besciamella preparation:

In a large heavy bottom pan over medium heat melt butter and add the flour. With a whisk mix well until a thick cram is formed. Add slowly the milk constantly whisking making sure no lumps is formed. Add more milk as the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper and grated nutmeg as needed. The sauce should leave a thin layer of sauce on the back of a wooden spoon when it is ready.

Assembly:

In a large baking dish, smear some butter on the bottom of the dish. Stuff each shell with the onion mushroom mixture. Sprinkle more cheese over it if wish. Cover with the besciamella cream. Cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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Enjoyed a wonderfully long week-end and last night dinner was a request from my son.  He wanted fish with tomatoes and fettuccine. What a mom to do but say: “Yes , of course”. 

The following recipe is not as long as it may seem.  The swordfish remained very tender and there was plenty of juice and sauce to serve with the fettuccine. Mashed potatoes is a great alternative to the pasta.

I used white wine, but any wine will be just fine.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

 

Tonight’s October 8, 2012 dinner:

Swordfish with Tomatoes, carrots and celery

Fettuccine pasta

Ice Cream with cookie

 

SWORDFISH WITH TOMATOES, CARROTS AND CELERY

 

4 swordfish fillets

2 carrots, peeled and cut in small chunks

2 small celery ribs, thinly slices

½ yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 8 oz can of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

Salt and pepper

 

In a large, low side pan add the butter and oil and cook the onions, celery, carrots and parsley until tender. Add the wine, the chicken stock, cover, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes over medium high heat.

Dry the swordfish fillets and spread some light butter over the top and season with salt and pepper.

Place the swordfish over the tomatoes sauce and cook over medium high heat covered for another 5 to 8 minutes.  Turn the fillets once during the cooking process.

Serve hot with sauce over the fish.

 

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After a week-long of running around and having very simple easy dinners, last night I was in the mood to have something new. Fall is in the air and I wanted to capture it in my cooking.

Earlier in the week I was having a conversation with Rachel from  Cook, Coupon, Work, and she was telling me of a special on London Broil and was wondering what kind of recipe I could come up with. My first thought was: sauce, cranberries.

London broil purchased, I decided to marinate it with Balsamic vinegar and honey. A sweet and sour combination. Preparing the sauce to go along was fun and it was great to have friends over that helped me with the flavor.  We tasted and played with the sauce until we reached the flavor we were looking for.  A simple polenta and long string beans was a perfect side dish for it.

TIP: if you choose to make the polenta, choose the Polenta Valsugana, available in most local grocery stores. Do not leave the pan unattended even for a second as it cooks fast.  Constantly stir so no lumps will form or splatter.

Great dinner to get in the fall mood.

Giangi

 

Tonight’s September 29, 2012 dinner:

London Broil with Balsamic-Honey Sauce

Polenta Valsugana

Long String Beans steamed with Butter

 

 

LONDON BROIL WITH BALSAMIC-HONEY SAUCE

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey (I used orange blossom)

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons Michigan Tart Cherries

2 tablespoons butter

1 2-pound London Broil

2 tablespoons Olive oil

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and pepper

In a large glass cooking pan mix the 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey and olive oil. With a fork poke the London broil and add it the glass pan. Turn to insure the meat is well covered with the mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, occasionally turning the meat.

In a small heavy bottom sauce pan add 1 cup balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, cranberries and tart cherries. Cook over moderate high heat until reduced by half.

When the right consistency is reached, not too thick nor too thin, turn off the heat and add the butter. Mix well.

Preheated oven at 375º. In a broiling pan (the one with a top part that has slits and sits over a shallow bottom pan) place the London broil. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil on both sides for about 5 minutes in each side.

Remove from oven, cover and set aside for a couple of minutes. Re-warm the balsamic-vinegar sauce. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce over it.

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Leftovers is not something we do well in our household.  I try my best to cook small enough portions so the left over are to a bare minimum and we do not have to throw away food because it disappear in the darkness in the back of the shelf of the refrigerator.

I attribute this to the fact that by been raised in Europe and we did our grocery shopping and prepared the meal the same day, maybe the day after. In France as well as throughout Europe, we have  so many specialty stores that picking your own vegetables, fruits, or pointing to it is more like it, is part of the daily life. Also everything is at walking distance from your residence.

Distances here in the states are not the same. All of the grocery stores  near me are only accessible by car due to the distance. So stack up we do.

What I do however is refrigerator cleaning.  The recipe of last night was just that, what was left on our refrigerator. The shrimps were purchased and delivered by Pete at Personal Gourmet Foods. Tomatoes from my mom’s garden, the rest of the vegetables were  added as I was reaching in the crisper drawer. Pasta is such a versatile food that anything and everything goes well with it.

TIP: Do not overcook the shrimps as they can get chewy.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

Tonight’s August 26, 2012 dinner:

Fettuccine with Shrimps and Vegetables

Fresh peaches and strawberries

FETTUCCINE WITH SHRIMPS AND VEGETABLES

1 pound of Fettuccine pasta from De Cecco

1 carrot, peeled and sliced on rounds ¼ inch thick

1 zucchini cut in ¼ inch rounds

Fresh tomatoes, desired quantities, cut into chunks

Frozen peas, thawed

1 pound fresh shrimps, outer shell removed and deveined

Fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cook pasta according to the package direction.

Meanwhile in a large skillet add the olive oil and the garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown remove and toss. Add the carrots, zucchini, peas and tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Add the shrimps and the basil. Cook stirring gently until the shrimps are pink. Remove from heat and set aside.

Drain the pasta and put the fettuccine in the vegetables skillet. Add the unsalted butter and mix well.

Serve hot.

 

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